National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year



 Since 1962, the General Aviation Awards Program has recognized a small group of aviation professionals in the fields of flight instruction, aviation maintenance, avionics, and flight safety for their important contributions to the aviation community.

This awards program is a partnership and a cooperative effort between more than a dozen sponsoring organizations from the aviation industry and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The selection process begins with local offices. Panels of aviation professionals from within those four fields then select national winners from the pool of regional winners.

The FAA administrator annually has presented the national awards in July during a “Theater in the Woods” program at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Included in the prize packages for each national winner is an all-expense paid trip to Oshkosh for the recipient and a guest to attend the awards presentation and other GA Awards activities. Generous contributions from industry sponsors pay for the winners’ expenses, while the FAA provides the support and structure for nominations to proceed from local to national levels. Hard working volunteers within the industry provide the various administrative tasks.

The General Aviation Awards Program is a cooperative effort between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and aviation industry sponsors to recognize annually outstanding individuals in the fields of Avionics, Flight Instruction, and Maintenance. In addition, the program recognizes outstanding individuals serving the FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) as representatives.

The awards highlight the important roles these individuals play in promoting aviation safety, education, and professionalism. Winners will be recognized locally, regionally and nationally. National winners will be recognized during AirVenture-Oshkosh each July. There, they will also receive gifts and merchandise provided by sponsors and contributors. 

For More information about GA Awards, please visit their webpage

2018  National CFI of the Year

2018 CFI of year

Daniel Peter Christman of Las Vegas, Nevada has been named the 2018 National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year. As a young kid growing up in northern Indiana, Dan always knew he wanted to be a pilot. His father was in the Air Force Reserves and would regularly take Dan to the base to see the planes. When he was 11 his parents bribed him, saying that if he made the honor roll they would get him some flying lessons. It worked, and he has been hooked ever since.

Dan soloed on his 16th birthday and received his Private Pilot certificate a year later at age 17. Since then, he’s earned the following certificates: Air Transport Pilot multiengine land, Commercial Pilot single engine land and sea, instrument helicopter and glider, Flight Instructor single and multiengine, instrument airplane, helicopter, instrument helicopter and glider, Ground Instructor advanced and instrument, Flight Engineer turbojet, and Remote Pilot small UAS.

Dan’s day job is as a Lieutenant Colonel in the USAF—where he’s known as “Taz”—presently serving as Deputy Commander of the Persistent Attack and Reconnaissance Operations Center at Creech AFB, as well as a military instructor/evaluator pilot. His military flight experience includes the Northrop T-38A/C Talon jet trainer, Rockwell B-1B Lancer bomber, and General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper remotely-piloted aircraft (RPA).
Teaching flying is clearly Dan’s passion. In addition to his full-time duties with the Air Force, Dan averages 25-30 hours of flight instruction a month and another 10-15 hours of ground training per week. He has been an active flight instructor either full or part-time for over 19 years with more than 5,000 hours of dual instruction given in a diverse array of aircraft. Dan’s experience and teaching style make him a highly sought-after instructor. As a part-time instructor with Airwork Las Vegas, he currently has six full-time and four part-time flight students plus five ground school students. He currently has a two-month waiting list for any new prospective students. As Airwork’s chief flight instructor, he’s responsible for managing 8 instructors and 25 students.

Dan authored and instructed a 6-week Private Pilot and Instrument ground school for both Airplane and Helicopter’s through UNLV’s continuing education program. He was instrumental in writing, producing, and instructing an ATP Flight/Ground School for Sin City Flying Club which produced over 60 ATP certifications during the last two years. Dan created the first aerobatic/upset recovery training program in the region utilizing Decathlon and Yak-52 aircraft. He is an experienced Technically Advanced Aircraft (TAA) instructor specializing in Avidyne, Garmin, Aspen and Honeywell glass cockpits.

He created and recorded over 55 hours of video content for Helicopter Online Ground School (HOGS) Instrument Rating course. Dan is also a contributing instructor for a weekly free live streaming helicopter safety and education course available on YouTube the HOGS website.

A favorite saying of Dan’s is; “An empty seat is a missed opportunity”. What he’s referring to is any time after you’re a certificated pilot that you fly solo, it’s a missed opportunity to share aviation with someone. Dan is a huge proponent of the Young Eagles program and will routinely share his love for aviation with younger kids, trying to pass on the experiences of his own youth. As an aviation ambassador to young enlisted Air Force airmen, Taz designed an incentive ride program to help motivate them to become officers and pilots. He personally flew 19 enlisted airmen free of charge in personal aircraft, three of whom decided to start flight training. [email protected]


Past National CFI of the Year Recipients:

2017 Charles Orville Gensler (NAFI# 18957)
2016 Robert J. Hepp (NAFI# 216994) 1990 Sandra Provenzano
2015 Mary A. Schu (NAFI# 215075) 1989 John U. Rockcastle (NAFI#8012)
2014 Howard W. Wolvington (NAFI# 16507) 1988 Jeffrey Hanson
2013 Dean W. Eichholz (NAFI#8691) 1987 June B. Bonesteel (NAFI#7685)
2012 Hobart C. Tomlinson (NAFI#19656) 1986 Genie Ray O’Kelley
2011 Judy A. Phelps 1985 Harold W Spencer
2010 Jeffrey R. Moss 1984 James G Byrnes
2009 Arlynn MC Mahon (NAFI#20271) 1983 Mary J. Reindl
2008 Max Trescott 1982 Gladys M. Morrison
2007 Michael G. Gaffney 1981 Fred H. Atkinson
2006 Richard L. Stowell, Jr 1980 Lee G. Barnes
2005 John A. Teipen (NAFI#13290) 1979 Evelyn B. Johnson
2004 Douglas Stewart 1978 Obie Sigrest Young (NAFI#2947)
2003 William J. Edwards (NAFI#12331) 1977 Edward Alan Englehardt
2001 Phillip J. Poynor (NAFI#9685) 1976 Gregory G. Gorak (NAFI#1245)
2002 Kirby V. Ortega (NAFI#14010) 1975 Unknown
2000 Gregory N. Brown 1974 Unknown
1999 David H. Faile 1973 Willard C. Marvin
1998 John C. “JC” Boylls (NAFI#4659) 1972 Thomas M. Smith
1997 James E. Trusty  1971 Unknown
1996 Ludwig J. “Lou” Wipotnik  1970 Unknown
1995 Lyn Carlson  1969 Unknown
1994 William E Huber  1968 Unknown
1993 Kenneth W Medley

1967 Henry “Hank” S. Hubbell

1992 William K Kershner  
1991  Lloyd J Probst